For those who are curious about weaving with wool roving, but haven’t tried it just yet, this post is for you. Wool roving is a beautiful way to add texture and volume to your weaves and it’s really easy to use too. So what is wool roving? There are a lot of steps to change fleece into yarn (if you want to know more, I recently shared a great post about the process here). To give you a general idea, it is wool that has been processed to the point where it is ready to be spun into yarn. So roving is kind of like a very puffy yarn.
I’m going to show you how to plain weave with roving, and also how to soumak with roving. To be technical, what I am using in my weave is called wool top. Wool roving and wool top are visually the same more or less. The difference is wool top is processed by hand and all fibers are going in the same direction. Wool roving is processed by a mill so not all the fibers are going in the same direction and roving tends to be fuzzier. The directions for weaving roving and top are the same.
To start I gently separated an amount of fiber at the width I wanted. I then cut the amount off at the length I desired. For the plain weave, I cut a piece that was about 3 inches longer on both ends then the area I wanted it to cover. This allowed me to fluff the roving and also have enough ends to weave in. For the soumak weave, I cut a piece that was double the area that I wanted to weave, plus the 3 inches extra for both ends.
Roving Plain Weave
step 1| I put some support rows in my weave before adding my roving. The support rows are important because roving is incredibly stretchy and has little structure of it’s own, so it will not stop your warp threads from spreading and trust me you don’t want your warp threads to spread after you take it off the loom. You can put in just two support rows if you don’t want them to show much.
step 2| Next I took the very edge of my roving and plain wove it between a few warp threads. This will be in the back of my weave and will secure my roving.
step 3| I then start weaving my roving just as I would a plain weave, however since it is so thick, I need to pick up the warps and bring the roving through with my fingers. As you can see in the picture, I’m weaving the roving at a diagonal so that I don’t pull it straight.
step 4| Once the roving is woven, I then use my fingers to slide it up the warps into place and also pinch it and pull a little to fluff it. At this point you can really play around with the roving to shape it how you want.
step 5| To finish the roving, take the roving end and weave it in some of the back warps to secure it
Roving Soumak Weave
step 1| I’ve posted the steps for creating the soumak weave here and you can follow those steps to soumak weave your roving. Again I would recommend weaving it with your fingers due to the thickness of it and the fact that too much stress on the roving might pull the fibers apart. For this weave, I’m following the soumak steps pictured here. As a refresher, the steps are:
- Cut a long piece of yarn
- Loop it around the first or last warp thread (first in my case as I am weaving left to right)
- Spread the two pieces of yarn, take the cut ends and thread them through the middle and under the next warp thread and out through the middle again (always through the middle!)
This soumak weave technique is much quicker, but also I found that it makes creating the soumak with roving much easier. So pick which soumak technique you want to use and follow it with the roving.
step 2| Once the soumak is woven, take your roving ends and weave them in a few of the back warp threads to secure the roving.
I also wanted to mention that I made my soumak weave with the roving on the warps by itself, and then filled in the regular yarn weaving. This is because it is easier to weave the roving on bare warps that will let me pull them up pretty wide. If I had woven all my warps and then added the roving it would have been harder to pull the warp threads up to fit the roving in.
I was really excited to write this post, because I just love how roving looks in weaves. Have you tried adding wool roving to your weaves yet? Did you run into any issues? I was apprehensive myself before trying it, but it works pretty similarly to regular yarn.
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Wool Top from Hey Lady Hey
Lily Sugar’n Cream Solids Yarn in White
Maysville Cotton Warp in White
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